What’s the Difference Between Linoleum and Vinyl?

What’s the Difference Between Linoleum and Vinyl?

Linoleum and vinyl are both popular options for flooring. They’re cheaper to purchase and install than hardwood floors and can replicate the look of hardwood, stone, or other materials. But which one is right for you?

Linoleum vs. Vinyl

Linoleum and vinyl are both very versatile materials that can work well in almost any area of your home. They’re the two flooring materials that are most commonly compared to each other. So how do the two compare?

Price

Vinyl is generally less expensive than linoleum, but not by much. The average price of vinyl is $1-7 per sq. ft., while for linoleum it’s $2-8. Some styles of vinyl will be more expensive than some styles of linoleum.

Expected Lifespan and Durability

Linoleum is generally expected to last between 20 and 40 years, while vinyl has a lifespan of half that at 10-20 years. Vinyl may not last as long as linoleum, but it is cheaper to install and therefore also cheaper to replace than linoleum.

Maintenance

Both linoleum and vinyl are very easy to maintain. Single tiles can easily be replaced on either type of flooring. Any damage can also be simply patched without having to replace the entire tile.

Damage-Resistance

Linoleum lasts longer and is more durable to regular wear-and-tear.

Water-Resistance

Vinyl is far more resistant to water than linoleum. Vinyl is almost water-proof.

Flooring samples

Style Options

Both types of flooring are very versatile when it comes to your options. There are a wide variety of styles and patterns for both vinyl and linoleum floors. Vinyl is more common than linoleum, however, and may have more color options.

Easy to Clean

Cleaning is easier for vinyl than for linoleum. Vinyl requires only basic sweeping, mopping, and vacuuming. Linoleum requires periodic waxing, an annual protective coating, and in addition, may be sensitive to certain cleaners, so you’ll need to make sure your cleaner is appropriate for linoleum before use.

Man installing linoleum flooring

Installation

Vinyl is easier than linoleum to install and can be easily DIY’d. Because linoleum is more susceptible to damage from water than vinyl, it’s best installed by a professional unless you really know what you’re doing with a water sealant coating.

Professional Installation

Linoleum is best suited to a professional installation. A professional can prevent future water damage in your home by ensuring that the required water sealant coating is done properly. Linoleum, if not properly installed, is at risk for water damage.

Self-Installation

Vinyl is easy to install yourself. There are two methods: snap-together tiles or gluing them down.

In the Kitchen

Depending on your needs for your kitchen, either vinyl or linoleum can work well. Vinyl is more water-proof, but linoleum is more durable and can withstand more wear and tear. If your kitchen sees a lot of foot traffic, linoleum may be the better option.

In the Bathroom

While either type of flooring can work well in a bathroom, and which is best does depend on your needs, vinyl often wins out over linoleum. The bathroom sees a lot of water that can get dripped onto the floor, so vinyl’s water-resistance is a point in vinyl’s favor.

Luxury vinyl

How Can You Tell the Difference Between Vinyl and Linoleum?

To tell the difference between the two types of flooring visually, you’ll need to look at the pattern on the floor. On vinyl floors, the pattern is embossed on the surface. Any holes or damage to a vinyl floor will interrupt the pattern and therefore be easily visible. A pattern on a linoleum floor is carried all the way through the material and will still be visible even through holes or other wear and tear on the floor.

Does Either Type of Flooring Need a Wax Seal?

Vinyl does not require a wax seal, but linoleum does. Linoleum requires a protective coating that needs to be reapplied annually in addition to needing a wax seal periodically.

Does Either Have Asbestos?

Both linoleum and vinyl may have asbestos, especially if they are older floors. If your floor does have asbestos in it, you’ll need to be very careful when removing or repairing it, as tearing it out or sanding it could release asbestos into your house, which is dangerous.

If your floor was installed in the 1980s or earlier, it’s important to check for asbestos before performing any maintenance or repair to your floor. If your floor is darker in color, it has a greater risk for containing asbestos.

To eliminate all doubt, you can send a sample of your floor to a laboratory for testing. To safely cut samples, make sure you’re wearing a mask. Most labs will require three samples, which you’ll need to seal in a plastic bag in addition to using duct tape to seal the area of the floor the samples came from. Alternatively, you can use a home testing kit.

If your floor does test positively for asbestos, it’s best to hire a professional. Depending on where you live, the law may require you to hire a professional to remove the asbestos. The primary danger of asbestos comes from its fibers becoming airborne, where they can be inhaled, causing diseases. An asbestos-abatement professional can safely remove the asbestos from your home.

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What Is the Average Price Per Square Foot of Carpet?

What Is the Average Price Per Square Foot of Carpet?

The average price per square ft. of carpet is $2.

Is the Price of Padding Included?

Padding usually isn’t included in the price of the carpet. Some companies may include the padding for free, but the cost of the padding is usually made up elsewhere, either in the cost of the carpet or in the cost of the installation. Padding by itself usually averages in cost between $0.35 and $0.65, but it can be a good idea to plan for as much as $1.00 to $1.20 per foot, depending on the type of padding, to make sure that you enough in your budget for the padding.

What Are the Different Types of Carpet Padding?

Carpet padding comes in a variety of materials that vary in price and intended use. The different types of padding include:

  • Urethane foam
  • Bonded urethane
  • Waffle rubber
  • Flat rubber
  • Fiber cushion

How Are Carpet Prices Calculated?

The entire cost of the carpet can be calculated by multiplying the length times the width of the room to determine the number of square feet. Multiply the total number of square feet by the cost per square foot of the carpet. If padding isn’t included, multiply the cost of the padding by the total number of square feet, and then add the result to the total cost per square foot of the carpet. Do the same for any installation costs.

It’s a good idea to multiply your total square feet by 1.1. This will allow extra carpet for cuts.

What Factors Impact the Price?

The factors that impact the price of the carpet include the following:

  • Color
  • Style
  • Pile height
  • Thickness
  • Durability
  • Material
  • Weight in ounces

Carpet manufacturers often use the weight of the carpet as the primary indicator of price, with heaver carpets costing more per square foot than lighter ones. The strength of the carpet fibers is also a major factor, which depends on the carpet materials. Carpet fibers are usually made out of nylon or polyester, but because nylon is slightly stronger, it’s more expensive.

What Is the Least Expensive Type of Carpet?

Olefin (polypropylene) is one of the least expensive fibers that is used to make carpet. It isn’t very resilient, however, unless it’s in looped form, which can help strengthen it. Olefin fiber carpet is thus generally recommended only for areas that don’t get a lot of foot traffic.

What Is the Most Expensive Type of Carpet?

The most expensive type of carpet is carpet with wool fibers. This is because wool is the only natural fiber used for carpet. All other types of fibers are synthetic.

How Much Carpet do I Need?

To find out how much carpet you need, first, you need to know exactly how large the area you want to carpet will be. If you’re carpeting only one room, measure the length and the width of the room. If you’re carpeting a larger area of your home, then it’s still a good idea to measure room by room.

Once you have the measurements, multiply the length times the width to determine the square footage of the room. Add all of the rooms square footage together to get the total number of square feet you’ll need. Multiply that total by 1.1 to add 10% for cuts.

To make the calculations easier, you can use an online calculator to help you figure out how much carpet you need.

How Can I Measure My Room Accurately?

To accurately measure your room, you’ll need either a tape measure or a laser distance measurer. If your room is exactly rectangular and has no doorways or closets, then your job is easy – just measure the length and the width and then multiply them together to get the square footage of the room.

Most rooms aren’t quite so simple, however. For any doorways, measure from the wall opposite the doorframe to the middle of the doorway. If your room isn’t 100% rectangular, use the longest measurement possible.

It’s best to get your room professionally measured. Carpets come in 12-foot rolls and, depending on the size of the room, may need to be seamed. The carpet roll can’t just be turned 90 degrees to fit because then the seam would show. To make sure you have enough carpet, you may want to round up to the nearest five inches.

Do I Need To Buy More than My Measurement?

It’s important to buy more than the exact measurement of the room. During the installation process, you will need to cut some strips off of the carpet, so having extra will leave you room to do that and still carpet the entire room. It’s usually recommended to multiply your room’s total square footage by 1.1 in order to add 10% more. This will leave enough room for cuts.

How Can I Install My Own Carpet?

It is possible to install your own carpet. However, if you’re not experienced with carpet installation, it may be a good idea to hire professionals to install it for you to ensure a good installation.

Once all preparation has been completed, you can first install the tackless strips against the walls. Don’t put tackless strips in door frames or anywhere people may step, since stepping on them can hurt. Then, you can install the carpet padding, stapling together any pad seams and then trimming the padding around the edges so it neatly fits against the wall.

Once the padding is down, you can prepare the carpet for installation by trimming it down to size. Make sure to leave at least 3 inches on the sides so you’ve got some extra room. Then, you can lay down the carpet. Make any additional trims that you need to (but keep that extra three inches!) and then glue the seams together.

Attach the carpet to the tackless strips along the wall. Then trim the excess carpet away. You may need to stretch the carpet to ensure that it’s flat across the floor and reaches the tackless strips on the other side of the room. If there are any areas, such as doorways, where there are no tackless strips, then fasten a binder bar to the carpet to cover the edge. Make any last trims you need to and your carpet has been installed!

What Preparation Is Needed Before Installation?

The first step is to move everything, including furniture, out of the room. Then, have any old carpeting removed. Some carpet companies will remove and haul away the old carpet. The next steps involve clearing the way for the new carpet. Thoroughly clean the subfloor and remove all doors from their frames so they don’t get in the way.

How Much Does it Cost to Have Carpet Professionally Installed?

To have a carpet professionally installed, the average price is $0.50 per square foot. Some installers have minimum prices of $200, so if you are installing carpet in a smaller room, you may end up paying more than the average price per square foot for the installation. The total average cost of a carpet installation ranges from $980 to $1,680

Is Installation More Expensive With More Expensive Carpet?

The installation costs are generally not connected to the cost of the carpet. A more expensive carpet shouldn’t be any more expensive to install than a cheaper carpet.

How Should I Take Care of My Carpet?

Taking proper care of your carpet will help it last longer, getting more use out of the price. Cleaning it regularly is important, but how you clean can also affect the life expectancy of your carpet. When vacuuming, for example, make sure that the vacuum is set at the correct height for your carpet. Doing a thorough deep clean or hiring a professional cleaning service periodically will also help ensure that your carpet lasts longer.

How to Install Laminate Flooring on Your Own (DIY)

How to Install Laminate Flooring on Your Own (DIY)

Installing laminate floors on your own can save you a lot of money, and it’s definitely the easiest flooring option for this project.

How much can I save by installing my floor myself?

The current going rate for laminate flooring installation (as of Jan. 2019) is approximately $1.75/sq. ft. Calculate that rate with the square footage that you’re wanting to cover and you’ll probably be surprised how quickly it can add up. Choosing to install laminate yourself for a 150 sq. ft. room may save you between $250-$300.

How long does it take to install laminate flooring?

The answer to this question obviously depends on the scale of your project as well as your pace while doing it. However, most jobs can be turned into a rather quick weekend project. Get the whole family involved to significantly speed things up.

General Tips for Installing Laminate Flooring Yourself

Chances are you haven’t done this before, so don’t get frustrated at the start. Once you get going, you’ll start to get the hang of it, and it will become much easier. Relax and have fun with it. You’re making a beautiful, comfortable, and financially smart addition to your home!

What supplies do I need to buy?

As you might expect, you need a few more supplies than just the laminate itself. You should also be sure to pick up underlayment (a.k.a. underflooring, cushion, moisture barrier), transition strips, and either baseboards or quarter-rounds. Don’t forget you will need a few hand tools to complete the job as well.

Supplies needed for laminate flooring

What tools do I need to install flooring?

Here’s a list of everything you’ll need to make installing your new laminate flooring as easy as possible:

  • Tapping Block
  • Pull Bar/Pry Bar
  • Spacers (refer to laminate manufacturer’s suggested size)
  • Measuring Tape
  • Rubber Mallet
  • Carpenter’s square
  • Chalk line
  • Knee pads
  • Utility knife
  • Level
  • Protective eyewear
  • Dust mask
  • Laminate Flooring Cutter or Miter Saw

Tools needed to install flooring

Tips on purchasing laminate flooring

How much laminate should I purchase?

We generally recommend buying 10% more than the total square footage of laminate needed to cover the areas for flooring. Total square footage can be found by multiplying the length by the width of the room or area in feet. During the installation process, you’ll be cutting the laminate to fit up against your wall and door jambs; this means that not all of the planks will fit perfectly, and you will have leftover pieces of scrap laminate from your cuts.

For jobs with a diagonal or herringbone pattern, we recommend using around a 15% waste factor. This is because every piece of laminate that touches the wall/door jambs will need to be cut and this creates a higher waste factor.

Why do I need an underlayment/cushion?

Underlayment (a.k.a underflooring, cushion, moisture barrier) is an absolute necessity when laying your new laminate flooring. Typical subfloors consist of either concrete or plywood on stilted construction. Adding an underlayment cushion with a moisture barrier to your laminate flooring provides the following:

  • Maintains Warranty – installing laminate without underlayment will void your manufacturer’s warranty
  • Creates Moisture Barrier – protecting your flooring from moisture that naturally rises from the concrete/wood subflooring below
  • Reduces Noise – sound deadening your flooring so that it doesn’t create reverberated noise from the two hard objects (laminate and subfloor) grinding/knocking together when you walk
  • Softer underfoot – underlayment’s padded quality absorbs more shock while you are walking throughout your home
  • Longer product life – preserves your flooring over time and allows for a significantly longer lifespan

What are transition strips?

Transition strips are what you place in between your new flooring and where it meets with pre-existing flooring, step downs or exterior doorways. Not only does it create a cleaner visual between different flooring types and doorways, but it also leaves room for the natural expansion and contraction of the laminate flooring. When laminate is installed next to the wall, you can cover it with a baseboard or a quarter-round as discussed further in this article.

Do I need to remove my baseboards when installing flooring?

When you install your laminate flooring, you must make sure to leave an expansion gap between it and your walls to allow for expansion and contraction (please see manufacture’s recommend expansion gap size). Obviously, a gap in between the flooring and your walls isn’t the most aesthetically pleasing look. To cover this gap, you can install your baseboards (new or previously used), quarter round or shoe moldings on the bottom of your walls.

You have three options when it comes to the status of your baseboards while installing your new laminate floor:

  • Option 1: Carefully remove your existing baseboards and save them to reinstall after you’ve replaced your floors.
  • Option 2: Remove your baseboards and install new ones after you’ve replaced your floors. Most commonly, homeowners will replace them with a slightly higher baseboard to cover previous indentations and for an updated look.
  • Option 3: Keep the baseboards on while you install the new floors and add a quarter-round after to cover the expansion gap in between.

Quarteround example

IMPORTANT: Acclimate your laminate

Laminate flooring is naturally prone to expansion and contraction with sudden changes in temperature. Typically, the warehouse or store that you get your flooring from is going to be a different temperature than your home. So, it’s vitally important to acclimate your flooring to your home for at least 48 hours before beginning your project. Simply leave the flooring in the boxes in an out-of-the-way location inside your home for these two days to allow for the expansion or contraction of the flooring, and then you’ll be ready to go with no issues in the future.

Which way do I lay my laminate floors?

There’s no right or wrong way to lay your laminate floors. You can do it any way that you’d like. However, the most common way is to run the planks parallel to the longest wall in the room or parallel to the largest main window in the room. This also often correlates with running the planks in the direction that you walk when you enter the room or the length of the room. Don’t forget that diagonal patterns are also an option, but remember to buy additional laminate for a greater waste factor, typically 15% more than the actual dimensions of your room.

Steps and Tips to Install Laminate Flooring

1: Measure the area

Before coming into our store to purchase your favorite laminate style, measure the area of your home where you want to install it. Get as precise a measurement as you can, and be sure to account for doorways and closets if the flooring is going into different rooms of your house. Also make sure to take linear feet measurements if quarter round, shoe molding or replacement baseboards will be purchased. You will also want the linear feet distances where any transitions will be placed (T-Molds, Thresholds, Reducers, and Stair nose).

2: Purchase the laminate, underlayment, transition strips and supplies needed

Visit our showroom, and one of our flooring experts will help you review your measurements and answer any questions you may have. We will also happily prepare a quote showing all product cost broken down for your review and approval.

3: Let the flooring acclimate for 48 hours

Laminate flooring is naturally prone to expansion and contraction when exposed to different temperatures. The warehouse that your flooring is shipped in from is undoubtedly a different temperature than your home, so it’s extremely important that you give the laminate time to adjust. If you don’t take the time to allow your laminate to acclimate, your flooring will likely expand and create bumps and ridges. Laminate with insufficient room may risk “teepeeing” & damaging your floor

4: Tear up your current flooring and remove baseboards (optional)

You have a few different options when it comes to the state of your baseboards during the installation process. It’s simply an aesthetic choice, so pick whichever option suits your style the best.

  • Option 1: Carefully remove your existing baseboards and save them to reinstall after you’ve replaced your floors.
  • Option 2: Remove your baseboards and install new ones after you’ve replaced your floors. Most commonly, homeowners will replace them with a slightly higher baseboard to cover previous indentations and for an updated look.
  • Option 3: Keep the baseboards on while you install the new floors and add a quarter-round or Shoe molding after to cover the expansion gap in between.

Typically, the quarter-rounds/shoe moldings are the easiest and cheapest way to handle it, but some people don’t like the look of the added quarter-rounds to their baseboards. It’s an aesthetic choice. Just make sure that you decide what you’d like to do before you actually start installing the new laminate or you’re going to be stuck with the quarter-round option.

5: Clean your subfloor

Before you start laying anything down, take a broom and dustpan and sweep the entirety of the area that you’re going to be working on. An industrial-sized vacuum or Wet-Dry works best for faster clean up. This will help keep your underlayment as healthy as possible and make working on the floor significantly easier throughout the entire project.

6: Lay down all underlayment first

The underlayment is just as important as the flooring itself. It protects your new investment from moisture and damage from the cement slab underneath. Lay it across the entirety of your work area in the horizontal direction from which you’ve chosen to install your laminate with the moisture barrier side down against the subfloor.

7: Start laying the laminate floor, cutting the pieces as you go

Once you’ve decided on which way you’d like to lay your laminate, it’s time to start laying it down. We also recommend opening several boxes at a time and dry laying the laminate first. Put spacers along the wall to create a small gap between the laminate and the wall (refer to manufacturer’s requirements) to allow for expansion gap.

Select a starting corner of the room and work from left to right putting down one piece at a time, interlocking the pieces together as you go. For the planks that don’t fit due to the wall, cut them as you go as well. We recommend saving all cut/scrap pieces until job completion, as many times they can be used in additional cut areas.

TIP: if possible, it is often easiest to start at the door of the room so that the first plank can easily be slid under the door jamb. You may want/ to undercut the door jambs to accommodate the height of your new laminate flooring while helping to hide cut ends that can’t be cover by base or quarter round.

8: Install Your Baseboards, Quarter Round or Shoe Molding

Once you’re done laying your new laminate, it’s time to revert to the choice you made in step 4. If you left your baseboards on, install your quarter-rounds onto your existing baseboards. If you removed your baseboards, reinstall them or install your new ones.

TIP: Remember to always measure twice so you only have to cut once and can reduce your waste amounts. Ideally, depending on the size of the job you’re completing, you always want to have some remaining full planks (or full boxes) that you can store to use as replacements later if needed – accidents happen. Also, laminates can change through dye lots and production dates, so a perfect match after the initial purchase cannot be guaranteed. So, it’s nice to have spare leftover in case you only need to replace a plank or two.

Lastly but most importantly, make sure to review all of your manufacturer’s installation and warranty information prior to completing the laminate installation. Sometimes manufacturers are able to provide you with additional tips and tricks for working with their products that may aid in an easier completion.

The Best Flooring Options for Florida Homes

The Best Flooring Options for Florida Homes

Choosing flooring for your house is a challenging task. There are several factors, such as style, price, availability, and climate that make it one of the most important and difficult design decisions you’ll make. If you happen to live in Florida, that decision just got a lot more difficult too. Because of the heat, humidity, and beaches for which Florida is famous, the types of flooring that will work in your Florida home are vastly reduced. So, what makes Florida so different? Its geographical location is special and the extreme climate is why most traditional flooring just won’t cut it in the sunshine state.

What Makes Florida’s Flooring Needs Unique?

The majority of Florida is considered to be subtropical, while its southern regions experience tropical climates. The state is surrounded by water on three sides and the interior parts of the state has a great deal of water also because of the natural and man-made lakes. All this means is that Florida weather is almost always hot and humid. Even though visitors love the heat and the beaches, and us residents enjoy our tropical climate, one of the big drawbacks of that lovely tropical weather is the extreme weather Floridians must also endure. Florida has the highest amount of thunderstorm days per year at 80+. Additionally, tornadoes and hurricanes touchdown regularly. Those weather systems and the frequency at which they exist in Florida, significantly impact construction, housing, and flooring. Therefore, building materials in Florida must be resistant to this weather, and engineered to handle the extreme weather systems. If you’re changing your floors or putting floors down in a new build, what should you choose, what should you avoid, and why?

The Best Wood Flooring in Florida: Engineered Wood

What is engineered wood?

Engineered hardwood floors are manufactured boards made up of several different recycled layers of wood. Typically, each board has five to seven layers, which are compressed and glued together creating a stronger and more moisture resistant board. The top layer is made of a more durable type of wood, –oak, maple, hickory– that will hold up to wear and tear and can even be sanded a once or twice. Despite the slight differences in their make-up, because of the top layer, engineered wood floors look very similar to solid hardwoods. They look elegant, refined and classy, while also adding a great deal of value to a home that must endure Florida’s extreme climate.

American Journey Maple Natural CL5500
American Journey Maple Natural CL5500

Where is engineered wood best used?

Originally, engineered wood floors were developed for use where solid hardwoods could not be installed. On the first floor of a home built on a concrete slab or in a basement or over radiant flooring systems. But engineered wood flooring tech has grown tremendously over the last 15 years, and the products can be used just about anywhere, including places where you would expect to find plank floors, and sometimes even kitchens.

American Experience Hickory Graphite CL5203
American Experience Hickory Graphite CL5203

Why does engineered wood work great in Florida?

What makes engineered hardwoods a good choice for Florida residences is that they’re specifically designed to resist moisture and extreme temperatures, the two biggest problems you’ll face when choosing flooring. They won’t expand and contrast like a solid hardwood, which means they won’t buckle or crack during a typical Florida summer. They’re relatively easy to install, and they come in a large variety of styles. That is why an engineered wood floor is so highly recommended for a Florida environment.

The Most Popular Florida Flooring: Ceramic or Porcelain Tile

What is ceramic and porcelain flooring?

Both porcelain and ceramic tiles are man-made clay tiles that are constructed by being fired at a very high temperature to reduce the water content of the clay and get shaped. Porcelain is made from white clay, sand and feldspar making it slightly more resistant to water and a harder, more dense tile. While ceramic tiles are made with red, brown, or white clay and are softer but also less expensive. Porcelain tiles can be brittle and harder to cut, but they’re more durable and unfortunately are only made in basic colors and patterns. Whereas with ceramic, they are easier to work with and come in hundreds of new and classic styles.

Sonoma Sky
Sonoma Sky 20″x 20″

Where is ceramic and porcelain tile best used?

Tile is very water resistant, which is why it is historically used in kitchens, restrooms, laundry rooms, and other humid or messy spaces. In Florida, tile can be found throughout the entire home. There’s a wide variety of styles and colors and finishes; tile can be used on concrete slabs, in bedrooms, basements or on upper levels and terraces. There’s even a type of tile that’s designed to look like a wood plank – if you want the look of wood and the practicality of tile.

Fitch Rainbow 20″x 20″
Fitch Rainbow 20″x 20″

Why is tile and porcelain so popular in Florida?

Tile flooring repels water exceptionally well. When water or condensation hits ceramic or porcelain tile, instead of soaking into it, the water just beads up. This means that these floors will absorb next to no moisture, even on days with the highest humidity, or where water is frequently found.

Second Best Option: Laminate Flooring

What is laminate flooring?

Laminate flooring is a synthetic material, made mostly from melamine resin and fiberboard, constructed to imitate the look of natural wood with a top “wear” layer that makes it very durable. Laminates used to look as if they were made of plastic because the materials were cheap and the process was unrefined. However, today laminate is a great flooring option, as it remains inexpensive, durable and much more advanced than when it was first introduced into the market.

Elements Saratoga Pine
Elements Saratoga Pine

Where is laminate flooring best used?

Laminate was made to look like real wood, it was therefore also made to go where real wood would go. Living rooms, hallways, bedrooms if carpet isn’t the choice. But it also used very frequently when finishing a basement, occasionally in bathrooms and even kitchens, because it’s durable, easy to install, easy to clean, and it can be moisture resistant.

Kaindl Herringbone Oak Fortress Rochesta
Kaindl Herringbone Oak Fortress Rochesta

Why is laminate flooring great for Florida homes?

There is a bit of a debate here. Because of the laminating and compressing process by which this product is made, it can quite resistant to moisture. This issue though, is that a lot of that resistance depends on how the floor was installed. If your laminate is installed with a proper vapor barrier, underlayment, tight seams, and on a dry, sealed subfloor, it can actually almost be waterproof. However, because it is a floating floor there is a gap between the subfloor and the laminate, and moisture can get trapped there, especially if you live in a high moisture climate. If the floor was not installed properly, that moisture coming from the ground and building up below the laminate can leak out through the seams of the floor and the bottom layers of the floor can swell ruining the floor.

There is a new, high pressure laminate that was developed for high humidity climates, though. It’s made from a special glue to help reduce water moisture absorption. This product would be perfect for a Florida residence, but there aren’t many style options at the moment. Either style of laminate will work better, if installed in a house with an effective HVAC system that can remove moisture in the air efficiently and consistently.

Other Types of Flooring:

These options are not the only ones, just the top two wood options, and the most popular. There are luxury vinyl, carpet, cork and natural stone options as well. So, If you have any questions about what kind of flooring is best for your Florida house, whether it’s a condo or apartment, beach front or inland, new build or renovation, we’ve been supplying flooring in Florida for decades and our expert staff will help you choose exactly the right product to fit your design and location.

Types of Craftsman Flooring

Types of Craftsman Flooring

The American Craftsman style of home exemplifies handcrafted quality and locally sourced, natural materials. Starting at the end of the 19th century, the Craftsman style showed the rise of the middle class, moving away from the vast and opulatant Victorian styles, and embracing a downsized informal bungalow. Inspired by the English Arts and Crafts movement, it was truly a return to simplicity and nature, keep that in mind when replacing or restoring the floors in your Craftsman.

Hardwood Flooring

 
Wood flooring is a must in Craftsman style homes, and reclaimed wood is generally your best bet. However, sometimes that isn’t an option, so the next best choice is something American and sustainable; a flooring the blends in with the trim details. Oak or a softer pine are both stylistically accurate, and there’s some flexibility with the width as well. Hand scraped flooring adds to the charm, but keep the stain color in a medium tone. Both our Cobble Hill Hickory Nutmeg, or this Meritage Longwood Natural Red Oak are excellent choices.

Cobble Hill Hickory Nutmeg

Meritage Longwood Oaks

Luxury Vinyl Flooring

 
Luxury vinyl flooring offers a very similar look to hardwood, but it’s softer, still durable, and completely waterproof. It’s great for a home with small children and/or lots of messes. Retain the beauty of natural hardwood, with a practical twist. Keep in mind the ultimate design goal of a Craftsman interior, and go for something like Sienna Oak, by MetroFloor Engage or GF Flooring’s Freedom Caramel.

MetroFloor Engage Sienna Oak      

GF Flooring Freedom Caramel

Laminate Flooring

 
Laminate flooring is a great flooring option for a Craftsman home because it offers a similar look to hardwood or vinyl plank but at a much more economical price. If the house is large or the flooring needs to be durable and scratch resistant, laminate will work perfectly. It’s a product that comes in a myriad of finishes and stains, so finding one to compliment a Craftsman is an easy task. Take, for example, CB-6072 Maple Tawny or the rich Elements Saratoga Pine.

CB-6072 Maple Tawny      

Elements Saratoga Pine

Tile Flooring

 
While the backbone of the Craftsman style often begins with the wooden floors, there are multiple rooms where tile is a smarter flooring choice. For the bathrooms, the kitchen, the entry foyer, and other small rooms, there are plenty of great Craftsman style tiles available. Bear in mind, a natural stone with muted earth tones would have been quite popular in an early 20th century Craftsman. Nowadays, however, there are tiles that look like wood planks meant to make the transition into the kitchen more seamless. Check out this Berkshire Hickory Porcelain tile if the goal is a hardwood look throughout. For bathroom floors, a mosaic tile with a traditional basket or diamond pattern would suit the home nicely as well.

Berkshire Hickory Porcelain Tile

Natural colors and materials shaped by local builders, combined for a modest, yet beautiful middle class home called a Craftsman. When renovating or restoring your own, remember to honor nature and the neighborhood in your design choices, and if you have any flooring questions at all, don’t hesitate to ask us!

Guide to Selecting Environmentally Safe Flooring

Guide to Selecting Environmentally Safe Flooring

You recycle, you compost, you avoid unnecessary chemicals and you bring your reusable grocery bags to Publix every week… now how about some eco-friendly flooring for your home!?

That’s right, there are flooring choices that can better support your going-green lifestyle. And hey, we’re all in support of the planet here.

But you don’t want to sacrifice style, durability – or safety – in your quest for a better future.

The great news is that you don’t have to. We’re here to help you navigate your latest flooring decisions and how they relate to the environment.

Cork Flooring

This is an excellent flooring option for those looking for something renewable and durable, with a slight “give” for tired feet.

Cork is actually the bark from a specific type of oak tree, so the tree doesn’t have to die for the cork to be harvested. Cork flooring can also come from recycled content of wine bottles (surprise!) making it all the more sustainable.

It adds a unique, earthy look to the home and is well-insulated. This could mean lower heating costs, warmer feet, and less stomping noise if used upstairs.

The way you finish cork is of special consideration. You’ll want to use a special vapor barrier to seal the cork while avoiding formaldehyde emissions, in addition to a non-toxic glue for adhering the cork to the subfloor. The core of this flooring can also contain something called high-density fibreboard, so look for non-toxic brands to avoid VOCs (volatile organic compounds).

The type of oak that cork is harvested from doesn’t grow in the United States, so this might not be the right choice for those concerned with using locally-sourced materials.

Average cost of cork flooring falls between $3 and $8 per square foot.

Bamboo Flooring

Bamboo actually isn’t wood. It’s technically a grass, and it doesn’t require fertilizers or pesticides. Instead, bamboo forests actually supply habitat for insects and birds alike. Plus, it only takes about 5 years from planting to harvest.

Bamboo does grow in the United States, but most flooring is typically made from bamboo in Asia, so it may not be great for those looking for locally-sourced options. In addition, working conditions have come into question with some of the major Asian suppliers.

However, bamboo is very durable, sustainable, and even antimicrobial. This strong flooring is also available with formaldehyde-free finish and some brands are FSC-certified (Forest Stewardship Council).

Average cost in the United States ranges from $5 to $7 per square foot.

Solid Hardwood Flooring

This is certainly a more natural option, but it does require trees to be cut down. You can purchase hardwood flooring that is FSC-certified and even locally-sourced.

Hardwood flooring requires finish. Oiling your floors instead of sealing with polyurethane can be an effective option to reduce chemicals being brought into a home that’s already in use. In addition, it may make future flooring repairs easier than with the polyurethane finish.

Hardwood floors are sensitive to UV radiation, which can cause some discoloration. Keep this in mind with rooms with lots of windows. Furniture, rugs, and other items that rarely move can make any discoloration from UV light seem more obvious.

Pine tends to be soft and picks up scratches or dents more readily. For durability, opt for a harder wood such as oak or maple.

Costs range between $2 to $5 per square foot, for unfinished domestic hardwoods in the States.

Engineered Hardwood Flooring

Hardwood only covers the top layer of this flooring. The inside layers are made of plywood to form the laminated core, which can help limit deforestation and help with soundproofing a home or floor of a building.

Once finished, engineered wood looks like any other hardwood flooring. However, the finished product typically contains VOCs and is less durable than traditional solid hardwood.

Engineered hardwood flooring does work especially well with radiant heating.

Price of engineered hardwood flooring ranges from $3 to $5 per square foot.

Reclaimed Wood Flooring

If you can find a local source, this stuff takes the cake! You’re recycling wood that was already in use, so there’s no deforestation involved. It’s natural and adds a rustic charm to any home its installed in.

Reclaimed wood is likely to need some cleaning, planning, and fresh paint, which can all be done outdoors for safety reasons. Once installed, it can be sealed with oil as a non-toxic and durable option.

The tricky part about reclaimed wood flooring is installation or “re-assembly.” It can be difficult to get boards to line up evenly. The final result is largely affected by how carefully the wood was disassembled from its original location prior to prep and installation in the new home.

Currently, the average cost of reclaimed wood flooring in the United States for 2018 is $10.43 per square foot, before labor.

Salvaged Wood

This is similar to reclaimed wood but typically comes from the bottom of rivers or lakes as opposed to a previous building. It is often wood that was lost from distribution efforts centuries ago when timber was most commonly transported along waterways.

It may seem counterintuitive, but wood that has been submerged deep underwater for years may be in better condition than fresher alternatives. Water pressure pushes the sap out of trees while low oxygen levels reduce rot.

Salvaged wood has a lovely character with deep, rich coloring. In terms of care, it will need to be treated pretty much the same as any other wood flooring.

Prices are similar to other reclaimed wood flooring options, at $10 or higher per square foot.

Palm Wood Flooring

From an eco-friendly perspective, this flooring option has its pros and cons. It comes from palms that no longer produce coconuts at large-scale farms, which is great to make use of every part of the tree – but not so great when you think about supporting most palm oil plantations.

There are a variety of types to match any style of home. Finishing and care for palm wood flooring is similar to that of bamboo flooring, so just be careful about formaldehyde and VOCs in sealants or adhesives.

Costs are similar to many high-end wood flooring options, averaging at about $8 per square foot, before labor.

Porcelain or Ceramic Tiles

Both ceramic and porcelain tiles are made of clay. Porcelain tends to be a more refined clay, that makes for a harder tile and more variety in design, but that’s the only major difference.

Ceramic and porcelain tiles are sustainable and non-toxic, which is great for adding to homes that are already in use. Just be careful to use low-VOC grout during installation.

Tile can be very unique and production changes rapidly, so once you settle on a flooring – be sure to purchase a few extra tiles to keep stored away for repairs in case one ever breaks.

Porcelain and ceramic tile costs can vary widely, especially if imported and may range anywhere between $3 to $12 per square foot.

Linoleum & Marmoleum

Many of us think of mom’s old kitchen when we hear the word “linoleum,” but it doesn’t have to be outdated or bad for the environment. Many current linoleum or marmoleum options look similar to ceramic tile in appearance but are made from sustainable materials such as burlap, cork dust, wood chips, calcium carbonate, or solidified linseed oil.

Not to be confused with vinyl tiles, linoleum can be anti-allergenic, anti-bacterial, and durable. However, it does come in rolls which always require installation by a specialist due to the varying patterns in the floor.

Costs for linoleum or marmoleum range from $5 to $12 per square foot, before labor.

Slate Flooring

Slate is a naturally-occurring stone that comes from what was once the bottom of a large lake or ocean.

Slate stones are common in Canada’s Quebec and Newfoundland regions, where they can be locally-sourced. The stones vary greatly in texture and color. Slate also holds heat well and may be polished as a safer method of finishing, instead of sealants.

Costs for slate flooring cover a wide range, between $4 to $25 per square foot.

Polished Concrete

While concrete production itself can emit a lot of greenhouse gases, the final product installed to the home is non-toxic for humans. Concrete flooring is also surprisingly versatile in appearance, as it can be cut or stained to look like slate or tile.

This floor option is highly durable and holds heat well, but may not be the best choice for families with kids due to safety reasons. It may be slippery and any falls or dropped dishes will be just the same as if they had happened on the sidewalk outside.

It can also be rather uncomfortable to stand on concrete floors for long periods of time, so mats are highly recommended for kitchens and other areas that require extended standing.

Polished concrete flooring can be very cost-effective, and might be a good option for finishing basements or garages, averaging between $2 and $12 per square foot.

Carpet & Area Rugs

The carpet production industry deserves an honorable mention as it has come a long way with regulating emissions, but it still can have a detrimental effect on the air quality within a home. If that is of concern in your green pursuits, it may not be the choice for you.

If your family struggles with allergies, consider that carpet can trap pet dander, dust, bacteria, and a host of other fibers, airborne contaminants, or chemicals that may increase sensitivity. It can be difficult to keep these surfaces clean with vacuuming alone.

On the bright side, carpet is comfortable for feet, less painful for little ones learning to walk, and a dish or two might survive if dropped (although protecting against stains is a whole other ordeal).

Recycled carpet or wool rugs may be the healthiest, most eco-friendly solutions available for purchase at this time.

Average cost per square foot of carpet varies widely, falling between $3 to $15 before installation.